One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
The female sex organ in mosses, liverworts, ferns, and most conifers.
- ‘Dispersed by wind, these small spores germinate into small, freeliving, disc-shaped gametophytes that produce either archegonia - organs in which egg cells are formed - or sperm-producing antheridia.’
- ‘Lastly, archegonia are always absent in angiosperms.’
- ‘Antheridia formed on the dorsal and ventral surfaces of the wing, while archegonia formed on the ventral surface of the anterior cushion.’
- ‘Notwithstanding their general similarity, the archegonia of mosses differ externally from antheridia in having a longer neck and longer stalk.’
- ‘This is a new feature and contrasts with most free-sporing plants in which sperm, rather than the whole microgametophyte, move to the archegonia.’
Mid 19th century: modern Latin, from Greek arkhegonos, from arkhe- ‘chief’ + gonos ‘race’.
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